Cashew chicken is one of my all-time favorite takeout orders, because I love the umami Asian flavor with tender chicken and veggies paired with the crunch and nuttiness of the cashews. So dang good! Typically, takeout restaurants are going to load your food with MSG and other ingredients that I personally don’t like to eat very often, so I love recreating these meals at home with healthy ingredients that not only fuel my body and make me feel great, but taste delicious!
This cashew chicken is family-friendly and you can always switch out the veggies for others if your family prefers different options like red onion, zucchini, bok choy, etc.! The possibilities really are endless here and you can make it your own based on what you have in the fridge.
The secret is really in the sauce with this one. It’s savory with a bit of spice, and I just love using arrowroot starch to thicken sauces like this because it just coats every bite and makes it that much more delicious!
To start, I first take the chicken breast and using a sharp knife, slice them in half, or butterfly them, so that they are then two thinner pieces of breast. Then, slice against the grain into very thin strips. Always remember that chicken tends to shrink and thicken as it cooks, so the thinner you cut them, the better! Cutting against the grain will help make the chicken nice and tender, which you definitely want in this dish.
One important thing to note in this cashew chicken recipe is it’s best to use a large pan, or better yet, a wok. My dad has always told me you’re not really making stir fry unless you use a wok! But, if you don’t have one, a large pan will work just fine.
Once the pan and avocado oil have heated up to medium, I suggest cooking the chicken in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan. Because it’s so thin, it will cook fairly quickly (you can always slice one in half to check around the 5-7 min mark), and cooking in batches will allow it to actually brown instead of just steaming with the other veggies. Browning=flavor, so you definitely want that to happen!
After all of the chicken has been cooked and browned, you can remove it and set it aside on a plate while you sauté up all of the vegetables.
Either before you start cooking or while your chicken/veggies cook, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. When the veggies have cooked until tender and the chicken has been added back to the pan, turn the heat to medium-low and pour in the sauce, stirring to coat. You’ll notice that as the arrowroot in the sauce heats, it creates a deliciously thick sauce.
And there you have it! An easy, delicious dinner that everyone is sure to love. It totally satisfied a takeout craving and takes less than an hour to get on the table, start to finish. That’s definitely a win in my book. Plus, the leftovers are soooo good! Anyone else love leftover Chinese more than fresh?! Yep, that’s me.
My favorite way to eat this meal is with some simple steamed white rice, but you can have it all on it’s own, with brown rice or cauliflower rice if that’s your thing!
If you make this one, come let me know how you like it over on Instagram! I’d also love if you gave me a follow on Pinterest, plus I’m always pinning delicious recipe ideas from all over the internet.
Another delicious, easy meal that satisfies my takeout craving is my Jalapeño Honey Chicken & Broccoli! So, so good.
Healthy Cashew Chicken & Vegetables
- 1 lb chicken breast thinly sliced into 1-inch strips
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 2 bell peppers chopped
- 8 oz. snow peas
- 1/2-1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 2 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
- In a large pan or wok, heat the oil on medium heat.
- Add the chicken, in batches if needed (don't overcrowd the pan), to brown on each side, about 5-7 minutes total.
- Remove chicken and set aside. Add vegetables to the pan and more oil if needed, and sauté until tender.
- Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
- When vegetables are done cooking, add chicken back, turn heat to medium-low and add the sauce. Add the cashews. Allow to thicken for 3-5 minutes.
- Top with green onion and serve over steamed white rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice!